With most of the current stars, like Messi, Iniesta and Xavi, having come through the youth system at FC Barcelona, the Club has every right to be proud of the academy at La Masia, but there have been a few cases of players slipping through the fingers and then going on to star for another club. The most obvious example is Cesc Fabregas, who joined Arsenal as a 16-year old and was extremely hard to get away from the Premier League club afterwards.
One of the most important members of the playing staff at FC Barcelona, and one of the hardest to replace, is the 25-year old midfield lynchpin Sergio Busquets. So it is great news that the club has tied him down with a new contract that will keep him at the Nou Camp for the next five years.
Busquets was born on the outskirts of Barcelona and joined the youth academy at La Masia before going on to play for one season with the Barcelona B team. That season was the same one in which Pep Guardiola managed the side and they won the third division title together. Both then moved on to the senior team and the rest is history, with an avalanche of trophies following, including two Champions League victories.
One of the latest star products from the famous Barcelona academy at La Masia is the talented striker Gerard Deulofeu. The 19-year old, who also plays as a winger, has proved himself with the Barcelona B team over the last two seasons, scoring 27 goals in 68 games.
Deulofeu is aware, however, that he will struggle to get any game time in the Barca first team, so he is ready to go to the English Premier League to further his football education. He recently signed a contract to keep him at the Nou Camp until 2017, but he will spend this season away on loan.
A golden generation of La Masia graduates were at the core of Pep Guardiola’s side which won 14 trophies in three seasons, but signs are beginning to show that the tiki-taka dominance could be coming to an end.
Two successive defeats in the el Clasico in the space of a week inflicted considerable hurt on the Blaugrana, whilst hopes of Champions League progression remain in the balance following defeat against AC Milan at the San Siro.
Barca have all but wrapped up the La Liga title after stretching out into a comfortable lead at the top of the table, but the invincibility of the Catalonia side appears to be waning.
Ever since the news broke that Victor Valdes has declined a new contract with Barcelona, there have been rumours and reports about who would be the new number one at the Nou Camp and when they would be coming. Some thought that Barca would move quickly and sign a new keeper in January, but Valdes has not demanded an instant move, just said that he wants to try somewhere else before his career ends.
The spokesman for the board of directors at FC Barcelona revealed that the club has agreed new extensions to the contracts of Carlos Puyol the captain, Xavi Hernandez, often called the brain of the team, and Lionel Messi, the top scorer and soon to be fourth time in a row winner of the Ballon D’Or.
It is great news for the club and the fans, as well as the players who look likely to spend their whole careers at Barca. 34-year old Puyol spent four years coming through the ranks at the club before making his first team debut in 1999 under Louis van Gaal. 569 games later, Mr. Barcelona is still going strong and has a new contract until 2016.
We saw the perfect example of the Barcelona philosophy of bringing through young players from the academy at La Masia at the weekend, when Barca beat Levante 4-0 with 11 homegrown players on the pitch. Messi came through that system, and has shown his respect to it, the club and the current crop of reserves by foregoing the Copa Del Rey match against Alaves.